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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Italian Style Shrimp Spaghetti and Banfi's Chianti Superiore 2009

I made this dish based on an wonderful experience I had dining out at an Italian themed restaurant in Barcelona. At first glance, unusual but forced with the idea of waiting until ten o'clock at night to eat dinner, we hungrily opted for the very empty Italian eatery for a bite. The first course was the shrimp spaghetti, which I absolutely loved and had a brilliant Chianti Classico [15 euros] with it, a great match. So when I came home, I wanted to re-create that experience and only having the taste memory and visual I set off to find my main two ingredients. One, large already cooked shrimp tails-on and two a jar [don't wince] of organic Vodka sauce that I picked up from Trader Joe's.

I like to fancy myself as a Sam the Cooking Guy style of cook, because I know I'm not even a wanna be sous-chef. So yeah, no illusions of grandeur here. But I digress, mean while back in the kitchen with my main two ingredients acquired, I'm ready to get dinner on the table. The other fab ingredients to make this dish are already in my refrigerator, pantry or the garden waiting to spring into action. The other critical component to this equation is the right bottle of wine and for me that bottle is the Banfi's Chianti Superiore 2009  [SRP $15] a sample I received last month sent for the review process that was the capstone to the meal.

The Banfi Chianti Superiore, was rich and supple, it had great body and a mouth watering acidity. Sometimes a wine is just okay when sipped alone, but when paired with the right meal, it becomes more than the sum of its parts. The nose didn't thrill me much, aromas of dried cherries and plums wrapped around some shoe leather that had been kicking up the vineyard dust. After the first sip, a wine redolent with dark cherries, ripe plums, dusty tannins and rich earth with a bit of black licorice in the background. The acidity was transformative to me, it really brought the meal alive and made those shrimp sing like the Vienna Boys Choir. The finish was long and inviting, I nearly drank the whole bottle myself [Bogarting 101]. I scored this wine a solid 90 points and highly recommend you give it a swirl with the recipe below.

I found some other recipes online for something very similar, but oddly much more complicated. So armed with just the visualization and my taste memory I get to work [here's my recipe]. This recipe is so simple a cave man could do it. Until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!

1. Grab some authentic Italian-style spaghetti noodles, that most folks have on hand already. Fill large pot with water and grind some sea-salting, set to boil or high heat. Once cooked drain water over the sink, but don't pour it all out. Once the noodles are drained of the water douse with olive oil and dash of salt then set aside over the top of still hot water.

2. Take out medium sized frying pan, turn onto medium high heat, drop 1/4 of non-salted butter into the pan.

3. Take frozen [pre-cooked, tails-on] shrimp [purchased from Wally World] from freezer and dump into a food strainer. Rinse with warm water and then remove the tails.

4. Dice two large vine-ripe tomatoes, cut fine some fresh Italian parsley, fine-cut some basil, use dried oregano and have them standing by to be added after you've sauced the shrimp.

5. Add shrimp to the already hot butter bubbling in the pan and saute those puppies for about 7-10 minutes.

6. As the shrimp as been sauteing for the prescribed amount of time, sift in some flour. Just eye-ball it, you'll know when the butter begins to form into a sauce.

7. Reduce heat and add the TJ's organic [watery] Vodka Sauce to the cooking shrimp, sift in a bit more flour to compensate and stir.

8. Add the fresh cut tomatoes and stir in the other Italian herbs described above, along with some fresh ground pepper and continue to cook for about another 10 minutes on medium low.

9. Now you are ready to plate, pour over the freshly prepared pasta and add some freshly shaved Parmesan cheese if you like [yeah, yeah I know the whole seafood and cheese rule], adorn with basil leaf, I did and it turned out fabulous. Bon-Appetit!
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